I have been on this topic for more than a month now. And, frankly, I am enjoying the exercise, especially in relation to the comments and arguments raised by those reading the series, comments and arguments that in turn prompt additional articles. It makes it even more interesting.
Another interesting aspect surrounding the exercise occurs when a person brings up a so-called strong anti-polygamy argument to counter my arguments, when the fact is that I have already forcefully refuted said argument in previous articles. When those doing that are told that the argument they are presenting have already been dealt with, some of them say, “Ah, I see,” while others say, “Oh, really? I didn’t read it, but I still think you are not right.”
A Liberian sister sent me an email that reads: “Good morning, Sir! I am testing to first of all say ‘Thank you” for past articles I have been reading from you. In the same spirit, I would like to frankly say to you that you should do away with teaching the Bible because I see that you need help in that area. The issue of polygamy, as being discussed in a world where we are facing problem with commitment in marriages is a serious distraction to our youth. Have a blessed day, Sir. From Mrs. (XXXX) – one of your readers.”
To her, I replied: “Hi! Thanks for reading and commenting. I am not teaching the Bible. I am disproving a false teaching that claims to have the Bible as its source. If you think I need help, please go ahead and provide that help. Have a pleasant day!”
A Liberian brother and I had some text-message exchanges. In the process, I indicated that many people wrongly interpret scriptural passages, including I Corinthians 7:2, to prove that polygamy is unscriptural.
His reply was: “… your choice of the word ‘wrong’ portrays the Christian doctrine. Second, when a man and a woman become one, how many ones can a man be?
To him, I replied: “No, it does not. And that ‘shall be one flesh’ has been adequately dealt with in either Part 5 or 6. You have not scripturally proven your point. You are only presenting statements that you think imply the proof of your position.”
Another Liberian sister wrote in a text message: “If you’re saying that it’s right for a man to have more than one wife, then it’s also right for a woman to have more than one husband. You just enjoy writing stupid things in the newspapers every day?”
To her, I replied: “My dear sister, the word ‘stupid’ is relative. I have written many articles, indicating that marriage is stupid and that kissing is stupid; however, others disagree with me, arguing that kissing, as well as marriage, is a wonderful thing. You may consider my articles stupid, but I know of a lot of people who consider them interesting. Besides, this is not a discussion about gender equality or equity. Differently stated, the discussion is not about promoting equal rights between men and women. The debate is about polygamy. The title of the article is “Does the bible condemn polygamy?” which is about a man having more than one wife. It is not about polyandry, which is about a woman having more than one husband. Let’s stick to the point of argument. What do you think?”
Does the Bible condemn polygamy? In other words, does the Bible teach that polygamy is an ungodly or unacceptable practice? No, it does not. Remember great men of faith – Abraham, Jacob, David and so forth – practiced polygamy, and God never condemned them or the act.
Does the Bible forbid polygamy? Generally speaking, NO. I say this because there is no part of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelations, which says that polygamy is not allowed. Nowhere! I challenge any pastor or Bible teacher to show that passage.
Specifically speaking, YES. I say this because as far as the Bible goes, any man may choose to be a polygamist. The Bible does not condemn it, and does not forbid it. However, the Apostle Paul says in I Timothy 3:2 & 12 that those who desire to be bishops or deacons must have only one wife. In this sense, they are forbidden to practice polygamy. Also, Deuteronomy 17:17, an Old Testament passage, says that kings should not have many wives.
I have heard or read a few so-called strong arguments against polygamy. For example, some argue that polygamy is wrong because God created one man and one woman. Others contend that polygamy is wrong because the Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 7:2 that EVERY man must have his own WIFE. There are those who say that polygamy is wrong because it is a sign of greediness. Still, others argue that polygamy should not be practiced because it does not prove true love. I have also listened to a lot of people who say that polygamy is unscriptural because Genesis 2:24 says that a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they both shall become one flesh. Many other people say that polygamy is wrong in that it promotes unfaithfulness in relationships. Others say polygamy is not good because it puts too much stress on the man. Others bravely contend that the Bible does not support or allow polygamy at all. A few other individuals argue that polygamy is wrong because Deuteronomy 17:17 suggests that a man should not have more than one wife. Many other people argue that polygamy is an acceptable Old Testament practice, but not a New Testament practice. I have disproved all of these arguments in light of the Bible and logic. See Parts 3-10.
A few days ago, a Liberian brother sent a text in relation to what I penned in Part 10. The text reads: “Your argument put forth today indicates that only the bishops and deacons who are to have one wife, be blameless, rule their children well, not covetous, not double-tongued, patient, of good behavior, given to hospitality, vigilant, etc. Are you saying other Christians who are not bishops and deacons can take many wives if they like? Can their children be rude? Can they be covetous? Double-tongued? Can they have bad behavior? Etc? Who then is a Christian? You should understand that good and bad morals of the leaders affect their followers. This is the message Paul was passing to the leaders of the church.”
To him, I replied: “Thanks for the comments today, my brother. You made some interesting points.”
At this juncture, I would like to say more on the interesting comments made and questions asked by the brother. As many of those who have been following the discussion will tell, I have already dealt with his argument in Part 5, so I wouldn’t want to repeat it in here; however, sometimes it is necessary to do so because doing so affords me the opportunity to make additional comments.
To his question about “Who, then, is a Christian?” I think a Christian is a person who recognizes and accepts Christ and his redemptive plan as presented in the Bible. The Bible says in Acts 11:26 that those who accepted Christ were called “Christians.” And this has nothing to do with the person being married, unmarried, a widow, a widower, a virgin, a polygamist, or a monogamist.
The qualifications listed in I Timothy 3: 1-14 are meant for bishops and deacons. That’s why Paul singles them out. The qualifications are not for ordinary members although most of the requirements listed are things that all Christians should do or strive for.
The same is true in Paul’s presentation about marriage in I Corinthians 7. In verses 1-7, Paul gives some general information. In verses 8-9, Paul addresses the married and the widows. In verses 10-11, he addresses the married. In verses 12-24, he addresses a group he calls the “rest,” including unbelievers. In verses 25-28, he addresses the virgins. Paul has a specific message for each group. It is faulty to argue that one group’s message should apply to the other group because there are some similarities between or among them.
If, for instance, the New Dawn newspaper has as requirements the following qualifications for anyone wanting to be its Editor-In-Chief: master’s degree in journalism; married; very good command of the English language, both written and speaking; analytical; hard-working; good editing skills; good and prolific writer, and good behavior.
Now, pay attention to this. First, the requirements listed are meant for a person desirous of being the Editor-In-Chief of the paper. It is clearly stated that these are the requirements for the position of Editor-In-Chief. They are not meant for ordinary reporters.
Second, ordinary reporters cannot be required to meet up with the qualifications set for a candidate wanting to be the Editor-In-Chief because his position is different from and higher than that of an ordinary reporter.
Third, ordinary reporters cannot be required to fulfill the requirements of the Editor-In-Chief because it is not all ordinary reporters that are, or will be, interested in becoming the Editor-In-Chief. It is illogical to force one group to abide by all the rules set for a different group all because we see some similarities between the rules.
Of course, who would argue that ordinary journalists or reporters working with the paper should not be married, should not have a very good command of the English language, should not be analytical, should not be hard-working, should not have good editing skills, should not be good and prolific writers, or should not have good behavior? If a reporter has these qualifications, it is wonderful for him the institution, but that should not cause anyone to say that ordinary reporters MUST fulfill all of requirements as the Editor-In-Chief of the paper because the Editor-In-Chief’s requirements are those of only the Editor-In-Chief at that point of reference. Isn’t this simple to understand?
Brought home, not because an ordinary Christian should have good behavior just as a bishop or a deacon should have, so one must conclude that an ordinary member MUST have only one wife because a bishop or deacon is required to have one wife. Not because an ordinary Christian should be hospitable and vigilant just as a bishop or a deacon should be, so an ordinary Christian MUST have one wife all because bishops and deacons are required to have only one wife. It just doesn’t make any sense.
If the Apostle Paul had wanted all the instructions in I Timothy 3:1-14 to be for all Christians, no matter who, he would not have singled out bishops and deacons in that manner. What is so difficult to understand in this?
To be continued…
Believe me, my people. We will never stop following the issues.